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Week In Art: From Thomas Kinkade To The Rolling Stones

This week certainly shook up the art world. We lost a controversial artist with a massive commercial following, celebrated the birthday of the father of the moving pictures, and saw some creative viral art projects in the meantime.



On Friday Thomas Kinkade passed away in his California home. He was 54 years old. The self-described “Painter of Light” produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes in dewy morning light that were beloved by many but criticized by the art establishment. He claimed to be the nation’s most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States.


While originally Kinkade was thought to have died of natural causes, suggestions of alcoholism have since surfaced. The Daily reports that at 11:16 a.m. on the day of his death, a Santa Clara County emergency dispatcher described a “54-year-old male, unconscious, not breathing. Apparently he has been drinking all night and not moving … CPR in progress.” This article describes the dark side of Kinkade’s legacy, including drunkenness, heckling Siegfried and Roy, fondling a woman’s breasts and urinating at the Disneyland Hotel. This puts an odd twist on the man who once said he had something in common with Walt Disney and Norman Rockwell: He wanted to make people happy.



As the guitarist of the Rolling Stones, Ronnie Wood seemingly indulged in a lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. Yet when it comes to art, the wild rocker has far more traditional tastes. Wood, who won drawing competitions as a child and later attended Ealing Art College in London, prefers classical painters like Goya, Velazquez and Rembrandt to contemporary provocateurs.


Wood, now 64, is showing a collection entitled “Faces, Time and Places” at Broome Street Gallery in New York. The exhibition will focus on his experience in the rock-n-roll world, giving us a firsthand glimpse of what it was like to be a Rolling Stone. Paintings will range from the 1960s to present day, some having never been seen by the public. While Wood may not be the next Rembrandt, we have to say he can draw a mean Jagger jaw.



Artist Nina Katchadourian has a creative way of passing the time on a long-haul flights: She recreates famous Flemish paintings. In a series she has dubbed “Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style,” Katchadourian poses gracefully, like the member of a very exclusive, very old mile-high club who just happens to be hanging out in a tiny bathroom.


The artist explains: “While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight.” Good thing there wasn’t much turbulence!



Have you ever noticed that when couples have been dating for a while they start to resemble each other?


Self-taught photographer Hana Pesut takes the resemblance to a quirky new level with her collection “Switcheroo”, in which couples exchange outfits for the funny photo shoot. Some of the results are absurd and hilarious while in others it is hard to tell which photo is the original and which is the swap. The Vancouver-based artist writes on her website that “her main focus in photography is the ‘little moments’ that people sometimes miss and later wish they had captured.”



Well… that was our week! What were your favorite art world happenings this week?


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